Random Thoughts: A Mindful Miscellany

from Marcus Wynne

Random Thoughts on Crowds and Attacks

with 34 comments

Crowds frighten me.

There was a time, a long time ago, when I enjoyed the excitement of a crowd: concerts, packed movies, huge parties (my 18th birthday party had over 400 participants, a band, and enough drugs and alcohol to fund a mid-size cartel….) and even the odd political event before I grew disillusioned.

But not any more.

It was actually a concert that broke my enjoyment. Back in the 70s, I attended a benefit concert in San Jose CA for Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Union. It was a great concert: Santana, Taj Mahal, a ton of minor acts. And because it was a political fund-raiser, no police for security. Only the Brown Berets of La Familia providing volunteer security. This was the era of Altamont, where the Hells Angels provided security for the Rolling Stones, and there was violence there; there was violence here, too.

I was about three bleacher rows away from the first major fight. It was hot, people had been drinking and getting high all day in the sun, and several La Familia security were called over to intervene in an argument between a huge unaffiliated biker and a patch-holder from one of the smaller CA MCs. When it kicked off, it kicked off big.

I remember watching the fight flow like a ripple in a pond, getting bigger and bigger till it was a tidal wave: first two guys fighting, then four or five, then knives and chain belts (outlaw bikers used to wear the drive chains of bikes for belts as they made handy flails in melee combat along with the obligatory Buck Folding Hunters and fixed blades) and then easily one third of the bleachers that held over 45,000 people erupted into violence. Gun shots, knife fights, fist fights, people screaming…and the crowd and the fight nosing one way and then the next like a gigantic animal.

Me and my buddy couldn’t fight our way through and down, so we turned and did the opposite – we fought our way up the bleachers, and then climbed over the safety rail and made a precarious descent down the support structure behind and beneath the bleachers, and then climbed a high barbed wire topped fence to escape.

As I recall there were several hundred hospitalized after the mass riot, and the police couldn’t even get into the stadium.

I will never forget how fast the violence grew, how fast it turned, and how fast people got ate up in it. I’ve seen similar violence elsewhere since then, but that first impression has never left me.

So I avoid crowds.

But sometimes you can’t.

I am no longer an instructor. I’m a coach for instructors and a designer of training programs. I do get asked from time to time to lend my experience and opinion to problems. Like the problem in this video, posed by a woman who is a fine martial arts instructor who asked: “What can I possibly teach or say that would have helped this woman?”

Ugly. Raped and beaten so savagely she required surgery. Easy enough to say, don’t be there, or don’t dress a certain way if you’re going to be in a place like that. But sometimes we don’t get to choose, as Lara Logan, who was similarly attacked while doing her job, describes in this interview:

Some of the hard men who go in harm’s way talk about the shooting solution. While there are times that may be the solution, even the best trained and reasonably armed can be overcome and killed by the fast moving crowd. In this video, notice what happens when the shots go off…and what happens when the fire is ineffective and doesn’t continue…and when the shooter has the gun beaten out of his hands….

Other skilled people talk about driving away or through. Great in principle but sometimes fails in practice, as Reginald Denny can testify:

And sometimes the crowd isn’t spontaneous, but planned:


What might an instructor want to convey to a woman (or a man) who might have to consider a mass attack like these? I don’t have any hard and fast answers. I have some general principles. The crowd is a dangerous beast, and the crowd mass attack is the most dangerous beast of all.

My random thoughts on principles:

• Don’t be there if at all possible. Avoid crowds, especially crowds of young men, and especially of young drunken men.
• If you’re in a crowd by choice, pay attention to your intuition and your feelings (the atmospherics or situational awareness) of the energy/mood of the crowd. When I was young and getting my first professional fighting chops as a doorman, I could literally feel the energy in the bar shift when things were about to go bad. Everyone feels it; and most can recall it after the fact if they survive. This presupposes, of course, that you are sober enough to notice.
• If you’re in a crowd by choice, have a partner or several friends. Don’t be alone and don’t allow yourself to be isolated in the crowd, especially as a woman surrounded by men. Look for other women or men who will stand with you or stand up for you and ask for help.
• If the crowd gets ugly, get out as fast as you can. The earlier you sense the change and the faster you move, the less likely you are to get caught up in it.
• If you become a target, keep moving. Move away, don’t stop and don’t let yourself be stopped.
• If you are grabbed, you must have previously made a decision about what to do and act instantly on it. A fast decisive attack may dissuade, distract, or delay others for you to get away…or it may incite even more violence. If you are fighting bare handed against a mob focused on beating and or raping you, it’s like fighting a tidal wave. Look at those videos above.
* The greatest challenge(s) are:
a. Knowing the spectrum of violence and recognizing when attention turns into the intention to harm you – the earlier you sense that the more effective any pre-emptive action (escape or preemptive strikes) will be.
b. Being violent enough early enough to stop the first key individuals moving on you to create space to escape.
c. Being able to ride out the panic of being overwhelmed by a crowd bent on hurting you, which is one of the most terrifying experiences any human can feel, and work a plan or improvise one. Which presupposes that you have a plan for such an event, which presupposes you’ve thought about it, and that you can improvise a different plan if your first one fails contact.

For the shooters in the crowd, notice what happens in the IRA mob killing video. The initial shots scatter the crowd…except for a few key individuals who continue their attack focused on disarming the operators. Then the crowd returns. Shots fired, most of the crowd retreats…except for the hard core. Have you thought about what you might do in such a circumstance? Would you fire warning shots and hope to scatter the crowd? Would you shoot to kill the main players in the mob?

As for driving away or through, notice what happens both in the IRA video…what happens when you stop? Even you stop and are blocked in, you are faced with the decision to either run over or through a crowd – have you thought that through and decided in advance about what you might do in that instance? Reginald Denny stopped…

In the Lara Logan interview, pay attention to what she says about the change and the escalation in the language and atmospherics in the crowd. Can you pick up on a point where she might have left? Can you see it or feel it?

The only hard and fast solution to this problem is not to be there. The principle of staying away from crowds works (unless you’re hunted by one, as in the gloating trophy video) but dealing solo with a mob attack gone violent is like swimming with a hungry great white shark. The mob usually wins.

Written by marcuswynne

January 15, 2016 at 7:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

34 Responses

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  1. Marcus, I agree with everything you said. This situation is a perfect example of the principle that you can’t always win – sometimes nothing you do can be effective. That, unfortunately, is true in many areas of life.

    Having no experience overseas, I can only offer present-day CONUS-related comments in addition to yours:

    • There is no reason I can think of to have to voluntarily be in a large crowd. If you have the unusual job that requires it, I’d seriously consider a career change. Concerts, sports events, and the like are for kids.
    • The kind of crowds that have high probabilities for violence are pretty well know in advance: concerts, politically-charged events, and so on. Why do you HAVE to be there?
    • Never diminish yourself in public – in ny sort of public place – with alcohol or drugs.
    • Always know where safety is, or what direction it’s in. This is normal, everyday condition yellow.
    • I’m tempted to say that mist OC may be a safer (for you) alternative to a knife or gun, assuming that you have been sprayed enough to be comfortable with it and know that you can fight through it, while hopefully your attackers may not. But I don’t really know. Anyone have an opinion here?


    January 15, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    • Thanks, Ralph. I appreciate you sharing your expertise. For those that don’t know, Ralph’s bio is here: https://thestreetstandards.wordpress.com/about/ and his blog The Street Standards is one of the “must reads” on the internet for those who are interested in no-bullshit discussions of self-protection from a martial arts and firearms perspective. He’s also a bon vivant, master curmudgeon and dog-lover, and a boon companion. Very much one of the Master Class Instructors knocking around.


      January 16, 2016 at 2:29 am

  2. I prefer to be as far away from any civil insurrection as possible, but I realize that some circumstances make that impossible. The riot may be completely surrounding you or exits may be blocked. If you find yourself in a situation like this, get yourself inside. A lockable location would be best, but just getting inside is better than nothing. Most riots occur outdoors and on the street. Getting inside will often keep you away from the majority of the violence.

    The more dangerous situations are the riots or mob violence situations that seem to pop up without warning. The best advice I can give you is to pay attention to your surroundings and have an escape plan for every location you go. When you see things starting to go bad (massing police, masked looters, people setting fires) GET OUT! Implement your escape plan! Don’t stick around and become a target for police batons, gangs of teen looters, or panicked crowds. Usually the people who get hurt or killed in these events are the people who aren’t paying attention or who want to stand around and be a spectator.

    If you accidentally happen upon looters, rioters, or large political demonstrations, walk away by the most direct route possible that allows you to avoid the unpredictable crowd. Don’t run; that only draws unwanted attention from the rioting crowd. Just walk quickly, avoiding eye contact or any interaction with the rioters. As you walk, keep an eye out for places of sanctuary you may be able to use to escape the violence for a short period of time until the crowd passes. Fighting against the crowd will be difficult. Think of crossing a river, it’s easier if you don’t fight the current. It’s the same way with crowds. If you get surrounded by a group, move with the group as you work your way to the edge of the crowd or to your pre-planned escape route or sanctuary location.

    If, despite your best efforts to avoid problem areas, you find yourself surrounded by a mob or overtaken by a riot, quickly get your back to a wall. That way you won’t be surrounded and will only have to deal with a few people at a time. I’ve found this tactic works very well. If you fade back to a wall and stop moving, often the crowd will ignore you and pass right by.

    Once you get your back to a wall, organize yourself and plan your escape. If you are wearing a backpack, bag, or purse, swing it around to the front side of your body where it can serve as a shield (a panel from an old ballistic vest carried in the back pocket of your backpack will give you even more comfort). This also prevents thieves and looters from trying to take it from you. Take a look at the crowd. Look for gaps. Your goal is to look far enough ahead and move from gap to gap, exploiting the openings in the crowd. Holding both arms in front of you with your hands together in a wedge shape will help get you through the crowd. Move along walls if you can with your “wedge” out in front of you, deflecting people off to the side. Turning your shoulders to make your body narrower as you squeeze through the crowd will also help.

    Having some sort of less lethal weaponry is useful. Many of the criminals who are caught up in the spirit of the riot are not very dedicated or motivated. A quick blast of pepper spray will usually make them look for easier targets.

    If you are attacked and you don’t have any spray (or the spray doesn’t work), you must act decisively. Don’t get caught in the middle of two or more attackers. If possible, keep moving to the outside of the group of attackers to “stack” them, or line them up so you only have to fight one at a time. If you do get surrounded, violently attack one of the gang and either use him as a temporary shield or blast through him to make your escape. Don’t just blindly run away; you may be running into an area where there are more problems. Instead of running AWAY from the criminals, run TOWARD safety. And remember that “safety” in this case may not be the band of police in their riot gear with batons out and ready!


    January 16, 2016 at 1:42 am

    • Greg, thank you very much for sharing your extensive experience and expertise! These excerpts from Greg Ellifritz’s upcoming travel book are pure gold in terms of well thought out strategies and principles. Greg is one of the A-List “New Generation” Instructors (new to us Old Guys who’ve been around a very long time, LOL) and enjoys a well earned reputation in the field of defensive training as one of those who are “as good as it gets.” Bio here: http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/instructors

      Greg’s blog at Active Response Training and especially his Friday morning “Weekend Round Up” of interesting and carefully curated links from around the world of interests that range from international travel to weigh training and combatives is a must read for many of the heavy hitters in the tactical world. Check out his excellent archive of material!


      January 16, 2016 at 2:34 am

  3. While there isn’t much research on human mob behavior and killing, there is quite a bit of research on our primate cousins (chimps and bonobos) who also kill and maim in large groups. One of the larger primate studies of group violence was conducted by Michael Lawrence Wilson.
    That study showed the following:

    – Groups that contained more males and lived in greater population density killed more.

    – Attackers did not kill randomly. They most often chose victims who came from different groups than themselves.

    – Attackers most commonly killed when they clearly outnumbered their victims. The average disparity in the killings was 8:1.

    – 92% of attackers were male. 73% of those killed were males. Males commit almost all of the group violence and tend to pick other males as targets.

    – “They mainly killed when it was easy to kill victims, either because of a strong numerical advantage, or because the victim was weak…”

    While similar research has not (yet) been done in human group killings, more than 20 years of studying violent attacks has led me to similar conclusions. When people are killed in mob violence, they tend to be males who are of a different racial or cultural background than their attackers. Those killed were outnumbered by a large margin and gave their attackers the idea that they are somehow “weak.”

    As a traveler, it is important to pay attention to this research. YOU are the outsider. YOU don’t fit in with the dominant “group.” YOU are alone and outnumbered. It’s YOU who will be targeted by rampaging chaotic mobs if the authorities lose control of the protest or mass gathering.
    It’s highly prudent to avoid any location where large numbers of angry local men are gathering. It’s especially important to avoid such groups when they are drunk, on drugs, or armed. I know you want some great pictures to take home to your friends, but it just isn’t worth it. Play it safe. Stay far away from any strikes, protests, roadblocks, or large groups of angry people.


    January 16, 2016 at 1:44 am

    • Greg, thank you very much for sharing your extensive experience and expertise! These excerpts from Greg Ellifritz’s upcoming travel book are pure gold in terms of well thought out strategies and principles. Greg is one of the A-List “New Generation” Instructors (new to us Old Guys who’ve been around a very long time, LOL) and enjoys a well earned reputation in the field of defensive training as one of those who are “as good as it gets.” Bio here: http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/instructors

      Greg’s blog at Active Response Training and especially his Friday morning “Weekend Round Up” of interesting and carefully curated links from around the world of interests that range from international travel to weigh training and combatives is a must read for many of the heavy hitters in the tactical world. Check out his excellent archive of material!


      January 16, 2016 at 2:33 am

  4. Traveling with other people adds an additional layer of complexity when it comes to surviving a riot. Not only do you have to protect yourself, you may feel responsible for protecting others in your group as well. Here are some things to consider…

    When attending any large public event in a third world country, you and all of your family members/traveling companions should establish at least two emergency meeting locations, one within the event perimeter and one outside the event. If you and your companions are separated and foreign cell phone service is unavailable, you should know how to reunite.

    If you are together with traveling companions when you encounter a violent mob, don’t assume that your companions are seeing the same things that you are. You may have to tell them what is going on as you implement your escape plan. You may not have the time or desire to explain your perceptions of danger to very young children.

    I would recommend that you implement a code word procedure with your young children and work it into regular emergency drills. Choose a word that you don’t commonly use. A word like “emergency” works well. Train and drill your children to instantly and unquestioningly obey your commands after the code word is given. Saying something like: “Emergency! Run to the car!” and having your children actually obey your commands without question is a useful tool in a violent encounter with a rioting mob.


    January 16, 2016 at 1:46 am

    • Greg, thank you very much for sharing your extensive experience and expertise! These excerpts from Greg Ellifritz’s upcoming travel book are pure gold in terms of well thought out strategies and principles. Greg is one of the A-List “New Generation” Instructors (new to us Old Guys who’ve been around a very long time, LOL) and enjoys a well earned reputation in the field of defensive training as one of those who are “as good as it gets.” Bio here: http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/instructors

      Greg’s blog at Active Response Training and especially his Friday morning “Weekend Round Up” of interesting and carefully curated links from around the world of interests that range from international travel to weigh training and combatives is a must read for many of the heavy hitters in the tactical world. Check out his excellent archive of material!


      January 16, 2016 at 2:33 am

  5. I’m going to post some comments that came in via e-mail. Folks, don’t be bashful about posting on the comments page! Discussion welcome.

    This is from the legendary Master At Arms James Keating. Jim is one of the great masters of combative knife and martial arts dating back to the 60s and he is still very much active. He is the world’s greatest living authority on the practice and history of fighting with Bowie Knives (though he runs neck and neck with Bill Bagwell) and Jim has been a huge influence behind the scenes with an extraordinary number of established instructors. Long before “point driven systems” were the rage in US training, Jim was designing training and a knife system that was taken on and used violently and successfully in the field by a wide range of operators. Check out his daily compilation of the eclectic and his training material at: http://www.jamesakeating.com/maajak1.html His Drawpoint system built around the Gryphon M10 is still very much applicable, and I happen to know several Tier 1 operators (among many many he’s trained, mostly in private sessions or the now defunct Riddle of Steel) who run a Gryphon M10 in a Sastre concealment sheath in harm’s way..

    Master Marcus

    JAK signing in, thanx for the email. Yep, there seems to be some “issues” and you’ve addressed them well sir.
    1. Don’t go there.
    2. Dress for business-action (not style)
    3. Take responsibility for yourself.
    4. Get serious or be a victim (no more free lunches)
    5. Adapt or die (an old truism) simple!

    I think we way past carrying a yawara stick, way past calling for help. This requires a stronger response. Keep playing weak, they’ll be bolder, go further. Play too hard, become the bad guy.

    I know – get a knife, well most ladies cannot do that actually. A silly postulate, sure a sound one, but they won’t – can’t.

    No easy answers, bad guys have us boxed in sort of via political correct crap and misguided pity. We war with illegals, we war w/ those who sympathize – civil war – cops x illegals x patriots x sympathizers x media x –yikes how many battle fronts can you manage?

    Ninja, commando, raiders, hit-teams, etc… OMERTA
    The shadows of Iga 2016 – sudden surreptitious selection towards serenity.

    OK, You stay sharp! Keep yer good works going Marcus! We need’em!

    JIM K

    Marcus Wynne

    January 16, 2016 at 2:43 am

  6. This is from Scot Hill, half of the brain trust at the Gear Skunkworks at Hill People Gear. Scot is an instructor under Larry Vickers in pistol craft, and also a skilled practitioner of wilderness bushcraft as well as a designer of some of the best outdoor gear in the business. http://www.hillpeoplegear.com

    His comments:

    When I am asked, it boils down to good decisions, decisions about not going places where you shouldn’t, evil exists in the world and congregates in areas and situations, be able to recognize those areas/situations and don’t go there. Decisions about when to leave, as you said being aware of what is going on and leave before you are forced into having to put into action the decision you already made about what you are willing/going to do to get home. If it comes time to act you already have to have decided what you are willing to do so there isn’t hesitation and you miss the opportunity. From there to use the old saying Speed, Aggression, and Violence of action with a focus on leaving, don’t stay to fight the fight. Fight to exit the fight. You have to live you life and can’t hide, but you can increase your odds simply by being aware and going to club b instead of a, or using route b instead of a to get up the mountain.

    That is all pretty general because everyone is different in size and shape, and ability.

    Marcus Wynne

    January 16, 2016 at 2:47 am

  7. Below is from Ed Lovette, an old friend and mentor and one of the truly great tactical training minds of the 20th and 21st centuries. Ed’s history encompasses special operations, high end law enforcement, intelligence and paramilitary operations and world-class training and training design. His quiet behind the scenes influence has directed and nurtured many of today’s generation of instructors, whether they know or acknowledge it, and just about every single credible instructor that came out of my generation knows him and has experience with his work. Check out his excellent books here: http://www.amazon.com/Ed-Lovette/e/B001K7R816 His book DEFENSIVE LIVING is mandatory reading in a number of courses in agencies that send people into extremely high risk areas…and has been for close to twenty years.

    His comments:

    Marcus I think your comment about the mob being a tidal wave pretty much sums it up. This is a situation to be avoided if at all possible. John Farnam says don’t do dumb things, don’t go to bad places. Pretty common sense. Case in point regarding the British soldiers, as I understand it they had predetermined routes they were to drive which kept them out of hot AO’s. For whatever reasons they chose to take a shortcut. The lady reporter was just doing her job but nowadays the location and the makeup of the crowds need to be taken into consideration. I would expect that if people stay out of areas where this might occur, especially after dark, the storekeepers could very likely come up with some security solutions to keep these animals away from their businesses. Like you, I have been involved in several riot situations, and a crowd that is really pissed off is a truly scary thing. It has an uncontrolled force and a sort of mindless fury that must be seen to be believed. Europe is in a mess and they don’t seem to be able to get a handle on it. We need to take the hint and not let these people (?) into our country. It is way past time for us to make a stand on a whole host of issues that are bringing this country down. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help but the deck is stacked against you in this scenario…

    Marcus Wynne

    January 16, 2016 at 2:51 am

  8. This comment is from Bert Duvernay. Bert is another long time influence and major figure in the world of police training; besides his long standing leadership in every major law enforcement training organization, he ran the Smith and Wesson Training Academy for a long time as well as distinguishing himself with a long career in police work. His bio here: http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Bert-DuVernay/12366551

    As far as the crowds go, you advice is spot on there, too. It’s a much more difficult problem. Not being there at all is best and rapid perception and evacuation of the area is second. It does make the case for high cap mags in the pistol, though. One wonders if the two British soldiers might have survived if he was inclined to kill his attackers as efficiently as possible rather than firing a warning shot. They also hesitated to take full advantage of their temporary escape from the crowd. They’d undoubtedly been trained to act with “restraint.”

    Once one finds him or herself as the focus of any angry mob, I think there would be no substitute for the ability to immediately begin killing members of the mob as effectively as possible, then rapidly leave the area while getting good hits on any pursuers. Even then, escape would be largely a matter of luck. I normally prefer a M/1911 pistol in .45 acp, but a high capacity 9mm would clearly be called for if this type of situation was anticipated. I am constantly amazed by the places that seemingly intelligent people will go without hard preparations for their survival, including appropriate weapons. All of the mob attacks were foreseeable.
    Bert DuVernay

    Marcus Wynne

    January 16, 2016 at 2:54 am

  9. Mark Loreto is a business consultant and police officer who’s trained with many of the top law enforcement trainers in the country:

    I think you’ve hit the primary ones. Greg Ellifritz has recommended trying to work yourself out to the fringe by getting your back against a wall and edging along with an elbow out. That may work for a crowd that is just streaming and mixing, but not one that has focused its attention on you. So again, the sooner you recognize that trouble is brewing and take steps to leave, the better. Once caught up in the maelstrom, options go to virtually nil.

    (notice Greg Ellifritz again…)

    Marcus Wynne

    January 16, 2016 at 2:56 am

  10. My longtime friend and brother in arms, Dennis Martin of the U.K. based CQB Services was kind enough to send a police report from Germany and his (Dennis’s) analysis and thoughts from the perspective of a highly skilled operator/trainer in a context where firearms (weapons of any kind) are banned (which doesn’t affect the bad guys but I won’t digress)

    Marcus, I’ve put them below
    Even while driving to the [police] office at the main station in Cologne, agitated citizens, accompanied by weeping and shocked children, informed us about the situation in and around the station.
    When we arrived at the [cathedral] square, our vehicle was bombarded with firecrackers.
    Present on the square was a crowd of several thousand, mostly males of an immigrant background who indiscriminately fired fireworks of any kind and threw bottles into the crowd.
    As soon as we arrived at the parking area, we observed a large number of people running to the emergency services to report assaults on women, brawls, robberies, sex [attacks] etc.
    The police officials thus found themselves plunged into immediate action. However, even the appearance of the police officers and their initial measures did not stop the masses from their actions, both in front of and in Cologne train station.
    Around 22.45, the immigrant-background crowd on the packed square went to the train station. Women with or without accompaniment literally had to “run the gauntlet” through the heavily intoxicated masses. It was impossible to describe.
    The crowd’s used of pyrotechnics [to shoot at passersby] is so out of order that we concluded that it would lead to severe chaos, serious injury, and even death.

    Besides the above mentioned situations, the following events/incidents occurred:
    The tearing up of residence permits with grins on faces and statements such as “You cannot send me anywhere; I will go to get a new one tomorrow.”
    “I am Syrian; you have to treat me kindly! Mrs. Merkel has invited me.”
    Restraining orders were usually enforced by compulsion. Offenders appeared again and made a joke out of the situation. In view of capacity problems, it was not possible to detain the numbers of people in the office.
    The platform was locked because of overcrowding. The crowd on the platform obstructed everything, and the people were all over the track.
    The [platform] approach to the trains saw a number of physical fights—it was the jungle.
    All over the station area, there were pools of vomit and places which had been used as a toilet.
    Many males (migrants) entered the station without any intention of travelling anywhere and took over all areas, such as the bank counter, waiting room, etc.
    Despite many cries for help from the victims, the officers were in many cases unable to reach them because the crowd stood in large groups and circles [where the assaults were taking place].
    Victims and witnesses were threatened at the scene, and it was only the constant presence of the forces and attentive pedestrians at the train station which prevented full rapes from occurring.
    Another striking feature was the very large number of migrants who featured in the police action.
    I have never encountered such a lack of respect toward the police in my 29 years of service.


    Having seen several videos from the mass attack outside the Hauptbahnhof in Cologne on New Years Eve, and having read the report from the NRW Police, we can analyze the patterns of encounter, and construct some [possible] self protective measures.

    Attacks by large numbers of young Muslim males on local women has been happening over the past few years in Europe; but has only recently been reported, because of the reluctance of government bodies and media to damage “community cohesion”
    Similar attacks have happened elsewhere https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_gang_rapes.
    In the cases in Germany and Scandinavia the attackers were immigrants [many from Afghanistan] In the Sydney case, they were second/third generation. The common factor was the Muslim attitude to women.
    Although it is generally thought that western women are targetted because Muslim men regard them as whores, the reality is, back in their homelands such mass attacks have been carried out against devout Muslim women, including at religious festivals.
    The attitude can be linked to another type of attack, the grooming and abuse of underage white girls by Muslim men of Pakistani origin. In one small town, Rotherham, there were at least 1400 girls attacked in this way.

    In VIP Protection we teach to be aware of:
    Dangerous places
    Dangerous people
    Dangerous people

    The above attacks have shown us that mass public celebrations [especially free events such as the annual pop concert in Stockholm] can be problematic.
    Other potentially risky areas include public transport and parks/beaches.

    The attackers display cunning and organization in selecting and isolating the victim[s] This is analogous to the “wild dog” pack attack, with all working to a common aim, and disorientating the victim with overwhelming sensory dispruption.
    Once the victim is surrounded, she is helpless even within a large crowd of her own kind. In the case of Cologne, Hamburg and Stockholm the high ambient noise meant that cries for help/screams were drowned out.
    The attackers pack in extremely tight, body to body with the victim, leaving no room for conventional unarmed countermeasures. In the extreme cases she is forced to a more isolated corner and actually raped.

    The most sensible course is to avoid potential problem areas.
    If in a public area and there appears to be numerous young Muslim males, leave immediately.
    If planning to attend events go with reliable male friends, brief them and stay close to them.

    The only viable way for a female to counter such an attack, once she is surrounded is by a weapon. To me, the ideal is a compact fixed-blade knife [TDI/HAK/Push-dagger] This may seem extreme, but if I had a female loved-one living with this problem I would buy her a knife, train her in in-fight acess, and install the decision to start ripping femorals.

    The elements of the “Tactical Lifestyle” are negated by alcohol/drugs.

    Dennis Martin
    Address options:

    Dennis Martin

    January 16, 2016 at 2:09 pm

  11. Just a point regarding the two British soldiers murdered in Andy’town. They were signallers, not really trained in CQB. One was armed with a pistol, which he had placed under his thigh. This caused the mag release to engage, so the mag dropped out of feed, leaving him with only one shot.

    Dennis Martin

    January 16, 2016 at 4:49 pm

  12. Excellent article. Thank you. I have written about and taught similar ideas, but not as in depth as you went here. Avoiding big crowds and places where people are gathering about a “cause” is important to stay safe. I then have people argue with me, because they believe in protesting, etc. (This is usually in the U.S. where protests sometimes become violent, but not the same beast as some of the crowds we are seeing in different countries. I always tell them if they make that choice, they better understand the increased risk and take appropriate precautions. Unfortunately, many just don’t get it…

    Alain Burrese

    January 17, 2016 at 3:28 pm

  13. hello marcus..alain directed me to read your article,I find it more educative,I like crowded areas,bt i have learned somthng important from you article and the solution to asituation in a crowd.thnk you so much.


    January 18, 2016 at 8:23 am

  14. […] usually avoid crowds. But here’s some interesting thoughts (as well as graphic video) crowd and mob […]

  15. This comment via e-mail is from an extraordinary experienced trainer/operator who prefers to remain anonymous. Thanks for sharing my friend!

    feel free forward my thoughts to the female instructors.

    First, i believe that you and the rest of the gentlemen who have commented the problem have covered the bases well.

    My (personal) thoughts on the topic.

    1. Regarding females in crowds, (Not a good place to be)

    Start with asking your self; how violent are you prepared to be? What is important to you?

    Having thought, trained and worked with several top notch females both in Martial Arts and real life. Most of them had to really be put on the line in training to be able to be HARD & BRUTAL enough in combat! They were good & nice lawabiding girls.

    Sadly in the western world we bring up our girls to be nice, which is fine when you meet nice people, but…that could cost you dearly, when you meet someone aiming to hurt you.

    Boys are more physical in nature and that is more accepted many places, but for girls that is not usually accepted in the same way. Which means that this needs to be focused on more in training of women.


    Are you willing to hurt some one? (Gradual approach, step by step, but focus on toughening/hardening)

    Ask your self: How will you respond when a man hits you? (get someone to do it, in training)

    How will you respond when someone tries to grope you?/undress you? (try it in training)

    My experience have been that many girls are mentally tougher and can take more punishment, perform better under stress, physically & mentally, then most men. But as anything else in life .there is no free lunch, you have to train and practice, and be specific in your training.

    This is just my humble comment Marcus.(I have to quote what Socrates said in his defence speech, before emptying the cup of poison; if i am guilty of any crime it is only in that i know that i know nothing!) The guys who have commented are VERY top notch guys.( i feel honored being asked, thank you!)

    When ever i have been stupid/unlucky enough to be somewhere surrounded by a crowd of unfriendly people, i have just tried to get the hell out of Dodge, but if need by being very aggressive! ( & fast & violent)


    January 20, 2016 at 11:18 pm

  16. If you must fight, put down the loudmouths/ringleaders/serious fighters first. If you can nuke them, the rest of the mob will want to be somewhere else. Just my opinion.


    January 22, 2016 at 4:29 am

  17. […] Random Thoughts on Crowds and Attacks […]

  18. Excellent article, and I find the comment section to be very informative as well (not typical in the interwebs). I worked as a doorman/floorwalker all through college. One 3.2 club I worked in served 2,000 kids per night. If we didn’t intervene in an argument fast enough, it was a nightmare. The combatants would knock over someone’s pitcher or girlfriend, and then another table of young, drunk men became involved, and so on. A simple argument quickly became a seething, infectious tide of aggression that could easily turn riotous. The thing I learned from this experience is that there is a certain vibe or energy that predicates this kind of violence. To many, speaking of “vibes” and “energy” sounds a little new-agey, but If there were no palpable vibe that could spread, there would be no mob violence. If you find yourself in a crowd, and you notice some free-floating anxiety, that is your sub-conscious brain telling you that it has received subtle, non-verbal cues that your conscious mind may not be aware of. Pay attention to that, and get the hell out ASAP. Don’t hang around to watch, or these days, take cell-phone video.

    Yesterday, there was a parade in my town in honor of the football team’s big win on Sunday. It was advertised as a “family friendly” event where no alcohol was to be served or tolerated. But a million people were predicted to attend. Needless to say, family friendly or not, I was nowhere near downtown.

    Rod De Leon

    February 10, 2016 at 5:06 pm

  19. […] More on situational awareness and a really good read: Random Thoughts: A Mindful Miscellany […]

  20. […] from some of the top tactical trainers in the US and abroad (see comments) at the original here:  https://marcuswynne.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/random-thoughts-on-crowds-and-attacks/  It’s always a good idea to keep certain principles in mind, especially when the Powers That Be […]

  21. […] Random Thoughts on Crowds and Attacks […]

  22. […] If you happen to choose to be in such a crowd, you need to follow your intuition and feelings when it comes to the mood of the crowd. […]

  23. […]  If you happen to choose to be in such a crowd, you need to follow your intuition and feelings when it comes to the mood of the crowd. […]

  24. […] 4. Pay Attention to Your Intuition and Feelings  If you happen to choose to be in such a crowd, you need to follow your intuition and feelings when it comes to the mood of the crowd. […]

  25. […]  If you happen to choose to be in such a crowd, you need to follow your intuition and feelings when it comes to the mood of the crowd. […]

  26. […] select to be in such a crowd, you want to follow your intuition and emotions with regards to the temper of the crowd. Staying protected is sort of parallel to […]

  27. […] choose to be in such a crowd, you need to follow your intuition and feelings when it comes to the mood of the crowd. Staying safe is quite […]

  28. […] choose to be in such a crowd, you need to follow your intuition and feelings when it comes to the mood of the crowd. Staying safe is quite parallel to […]

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